From a strong fascination for the magical material Ferro Fluid, Zelf Koelman of the Eindhoven University of Technology has designed Ferrolic an alarm clock that resembles a Rorschach test in motion. The natural dynamics of this fluid makes that this display bridges the gap between everyday digital screens and tangible reality.
Because the fluid behaves in an unpredictable way, it is possible to give the bodies, perceived in the Ferrolic display, a strong reference to living creatures. It is this livelihood that enables Ferrolic to show a meaningful narrative such as having the creatures play tag. In addition the natural flow of the material, Ferrolic can be used to form recognisable shapes and written characters. Ferrolic uses both information-layers in parallel in order to display scenes and transitions in a poetic, almost dance like, choregraphed way.
Ferrolic is in ongoing development. To kickstart Ferrolic, the current design will be produced in small batches and is available for pre-order.
How it works
In the front, the display has a basin comparable to an acquarium in which Ferro Fluid can move freely. Behind the scenes powerful electromagnets enable Ferollic to influence the fluid’s shape, to pick it up and move it around. Both modules, the basin and the electronics, sit secure in an aluminium frame.
The software behind these electromagnets, and thus the shapes and information displayed, can be edited. Ferrolic is controlled by an intelligent internal system that is accessible trough a web-browser. In this way users can assign “the creatures” to display time, text, shapes and transitions. Experienced users can create animations from their own custom shapes.
Unique intrinsic properties
Ferrolic does not produce light and is 100% silent since it does not contain mechanically moving elements. Its unique dynamics are the visual result of the black fluid continiously finding balance between “gravity”, “magnetic fields” and its own “van de Waals” forces.
Ferrolic’s intrinsic qualities allow it to be used for specific display purposes like time and text representations that emerge in a very lively fashion. The lively blobs (Ferrolics) are even able to tell a story themselves.